Rosendale Street Festival returns July 19-20 with 74 bands on tap

The Pleasers drew a large crowd at last year’s Rosendale Street Festival. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The Pleasers drew a large crowd at last year’s Rosendale Street Festival. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

If you will be passing through Rosendale this weekend, July 19 and 20, either plan on taking a long detour around downtown — or, better yet, plan to stay and have a blast! Main Street (Route 213) between Route 32 and the Keator Avenue bridge across the Rondout Creek will be closed off to automobile traffic beginning at 10:30 a.m. both days as the Rosendale Street Festival celebrates its 36th anniversary.

Festival co-chair and well-known local bass player Charlie Knicely calls the annual streetfest “one of the Northeast’s greatest treasures,” and it’s tough to argue with that assessment. The all-volunteer, donation-driven event features food and craft vendors, informational tables hosted by a wide variety of community organizations, buskers, drum circles, flash mobs, lots of hands-on activities for kids and above all, nonstop music in many styles at six separate stages, five of them outdoors. At last count, 74 bands were signed up to perform, for no compensation besides bragging rights that they played the famous Rosendale Street Festival.


The sixth stage, inside the Rosendale Theatre, will host performances by the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK) and Energy Dance Company at 5 p.m. on Sunday, in addition to screenings of the Children’s Media Project’s Reel Expressions Youth Film Festival running from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. As a kickoff to the weekend’s events, on Friday evening the Theatre will screen the film Peace, Love and Misunderstanding starring Jane Fonda, which includes a number of scenes shot during the 2012 Street Festival or inside recognizable Rosendale landmarks, featuring many Rosendalers as extras.

Keeping the soccer World Cup energy alive, the action on Saturday begins with a Brazilian-flavored parade at noon with the Berimbau & Pandeiro Orchestra sashaying down Main Street. A second parade will wind things down on Sunday at 5:45 p.m., featuring POOK and the New Orleans stylings of the Rosendale Improvement Association Brass Band and Social Club. Here’s the lineup of performers who will be playing all over downtown in between:

On Saturday immediately following the parade, depending on which stage you visit, you can hear Loveypie, Pete Santora, Greg Englesson, Victoria Levy and/or Los Thujones. At 1 p.m., Kids Rock New Paltz, Charles Lyonhart, George Quinn & Rob Stein, iS, Big Bowl of Soul and Purple kniF will perform. At 2 p.m., Rosza, Bob-Kat, Tulula! Barbara Dempsey & Co. and Gozer will play. At 3 p.m., you can hear Ratboy, Jr., the Old Double E, Gutter Cat, the Compact and the Paul Green Rock Academy. At 4 p.m., there will be Jude Roberts, Lauren Diamond and the South Paws, Whiskey Mountain, the Kurt Henry Band and Lindsey Webster.

The 5 p.m. hour on Saturday brings the Rockelle Cakes Quartet, Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones, Mister Kick, Clouds and Protius. M’Bolla, Steve Mulvaney & Soul Device, the Tall Weeds, Mad Satta and Pitchfork Militia are slated for 6 p.m. Carl Mateo, Dylan Doyle, the New Lazy Boys, Myles Mancuso and Big Sister come on at 7 p.m. And at 8 p.m., all the action converges on the main stage for Patti Rothberg.

Here’s the Sunday music lineup: noon, Mid-Hudson Music Together, Paul Maloney, Paul McMahon, Vanessa Knicely and the God’s Word Worship Band; 1 p.m., Bloom, Dorraine Scofield, Red Neckromancer, the Street Fest All-Stars and Ian Lloyd’s Stories; 2 p.m., Fuzzy Lollipop, Black Mountain Symphony, the New Liberrians, the Alex Jornov Band and Les Vegas; 3 p.m., Grenadilla, Wally Nichols, Frenchy and the Punk, Murali Coryell and the Big Heavy; 4 p.m., the Spiral Up Kids, the Pleasers, Los Doggies, D Squared and this correspondent’s favorite discovery from last year’s festival, Passero; 5 p.m., Fre Atlast & the Rosendale Improvement Association Brass Band & Social Club, the Saints of Swing, Marty’s Nags, Joey Eppard and Tiger Piss. At 6 p.m., following the parade from the Canal Lock Stage to the Mountain Stage, Voodelic will give the festival a rousing swamp-boogie sendoff.

Parking close to the action is hard to come by, so visitors from outside Rosendale are encouraged to take advantage of the UCAT shuttle service from the designated festival parking areas: the Bloomington Firehouse, the Tillson School, the Brookside School, the Rondout Municipal Center and the Iron Mountain Kiln lot. Alternatively, you can bicycle into town from either direction via the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, now that the Rosendale Trestle has been reopened.

Admission to the festival is free, but there will be volunteers with baskets at the entry points asking you to make a donation to help cover the expenses of the event. The festival “needs the support of everyone if we are going to keep providing this wonderful weekend of music, food and vendors, so please be generous when you enter,” urges Knicely.

Except for the folks who are volunteering their time to do breakdown and cleanup, the Rosendale Street Festival will end at 9 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more about this fabulously fun event or to volunteer, visit or check out Rosendale Street Fest on Facebook. ++